Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/369/6061

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 November 2004

Pakistan:

Musharraf's Hypocrisy Won't End Violence Against Women

THE NATIONAL Assembly in Pakistan has passed a Bill on 'honour killings'. It declares that anyone committing such a crime will be guilty of "intentional murder". The government says that this Bill is an historic step forward in eliminating crimes against women. But the reality is completely different.

Rukshana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan

This Bill is in fact a response to international pressure from the western imperialist powers. These countries, which have given full support to the Musharraf dictatorship as an ally in the 'war against terror', feel the pressure of public opinion in their own countries. As a result, they have demanded a face-saving response from Musharraf.

The new Bill against honour killing is in no way meant to stop this heinous crime. It is a window-dressing exercise, which does not address the real issues of how women are socially and economically subjugated and oppressed in Pakistani society.

What is 'honour killing'?

HONOUR KILLING is a tradition and practice that has existed in the sub-continent for many centuries. It is a barbaric and inhuman custom, a legacy of tribalism and feudalism which still exists in its worst form in Pakistan today.

This traditional custom gives parents, brothers, husbands, cousins and other relatives the right to kill women in their family or tribe on suspicion of sexual relations with a man occurring outside marriage. Relatives can also kill the suspected man on this charge.

When British imperialism was the colonial master of the Asian sub-continent it introduced a law, which existed up until recently, stating that honour killings fell into the category of "unintentional killings". This law also gave the family of these women the right to pardon the murderer.

Today, this inhuman custom is widely practiced in Pakistan. Marriage without the consent and approval of the family is also treated as an illicit relation and couples considered deserving of being killed.

No girl or woman has the right to marry the man of her own choice. Last year, 1,900 women were killed by their close relatives.

Inhuman custom

In Sindh, this custom is called "karo kari" and has been on the rise over the last few years. In many cases, the tribal chiefs and feudal lords gave orders to tribal men to kill couples, even when the families had accepted the marriage.

Such acts also have economic advantages for the feudal lords because they get money from the families of both the accused and the deceased. In many cases, people use an honour killing to eliminate enemies.

They will murder their opponent and then kill their sister or wife afterwards and declare both crimes an honour killing. The law will leave them without any punishment.

Some female MPs put forward a Bill to ban this practice but the ruling party and opposition MPs, hand in hand, voted against this Bill. Most of them are feudal lords from different parties, including the Pakistani Peoples Party.

This country's ruling elite is conservative and anti-working class and not concerned with passing progressive legislation in favour of women. The present military regime, which presents itself as 'moderate, enlightened and progressive', has failed to change or repeal the most barbaric, draconian and discriminating laws against women.

Hudood laws

THE MILITARY dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, introduced the barbaric Hudood laws in 1979 under the guise of 'Islamic Laws'. The main aim was to suppress women, especially politically active women.

These laws are completely anti-women and discriminatory. A victim of rape needs the evidence of four males to prove the rape, otherwise she will be prosecuted for 'adultery'.

This means that if a woman was being raped in a room she would have to invite four more men in to prove this rape! 1,300 women are in prison because of these measures.

Some couples have been arrested on suspicion that they were preparing for sexual intercourse outside marriage or were planning to do so. Even now, the government accepts that these are the most widely misused laws in Pakistan.

But nothing has been done to repeal these laws, because they don't want to offend their fundamentalist allies. The laws allow the police to enter any house or place where they think that adultery is taking place.

The working class and poor rural women are the victims of these draconian laws and they should be repealed without delay.

These laws are also used against couples who marry by choice but without the permission of their families. The police can arrest couples on the complaints of parents, brothers, or sisters, especially if their sister or daughter runs away with a man. Both will be punished and imprisoned.

The Higher Court has taken hundreds of decisions to try and stop the police from implementing this law but they still keep on doing so. The Higher Court has also declared marriage of choice to be legal.

Domestic violence

BUT IT is not only repressive laws which women in Pakistan have to deal with. Domestic violence is not a crime in Pakistan. Every man has the right to beat his wife, daughter or sister.

Every year, 5,000 women die from domestic violence. Thousands are badly injured, many become disabled. According to a survey conducted by some NGOs and DAWN (the leading English-language newspaper in Pakistan), nearly 90% of women face domestic violence. Generally, violence against women is increasing, but domestic violence has significantly risen over the last decades.

Last year, 857 women were brought to hospitals being having partly or completely burnt by acid attacks - and these are just the official figures.

A lot of women get acid thrown on their faces or bodies for different reasons. Many women lose their eyes, ears and get their faces disfigured as a result of these violent attacks.

Sermons

It is generally accepted that men are allowed to beat their wives or daughters because Islam gave them the right to do that. These ideas are reinforced by the sermons of the Mullahs who preach them regularly.

Victims of domestic violence have no way of getting legal protection. This is because the police are never prepared to consider domestic violence as a crime and they always refuse to register cases on this issue. Normally, the police put pressure on the victims to force them to make a compromise with their families.

The Socialist Movement and the Swair women's organisation (a community organisation campaigning on issues of concern to working class women) has jointly launched a Campaign against Domestic Violence.

The main aim of this campaign is to organise women on a community basis and also to develop the awareness of working class women on this issue.

Activities

We have been able to organise some very successful activities, such as two seminars in shanty town areas, and three awareness-raising work-shops, in which more than 100 young women participated.

We have also produced many leaflets and posters on this issue, clearly linking this issue with capitalism and feudalism and with the transformation of society on the basis of socialist ideas. This campaign is getting momentum, so we are planning to do more activities in the future.

One thing is certain - laws are not enough to get rid of exploitation, discrimination, oppression and the bad conditions created by capitalism. It is necessary to overthrow this rotten oppressive, hierarchical and patriarchal system to guarantee women full freedom and liberty.

A socialist planned economy, based on equality and cooperation, would lay the foundations for eliminating all forms of exploitation and oppression, including violence against women.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 November 2004:

PCS Striking To Save Jobs And Services

For A One-Day Public-Sector Strike

"Why I Am On Strike"

Understaffed, Stressed And Under Threat

They Can't Bury Our Voices


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hoe Street ward by-election

Unite Against Homophobia

Is there an alternative to global warming?


International socialist news and analysis

Big events will shake Bush win

End This Bloody Occupation

Arafat And The Palestinian Struggle

Fourth general strike in ten months in Nigeria

Volkswagen: Workers Stage Warning Strikes

Ministers Paper Over Growing EU Crises

Musharraf's Hypocrisy Won't End Violence Against Women


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 November 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Pakistan:

triangleHackney Socialist Party: 70 years since India-Pakistan partition

triangleInternational Women's Day: taking action against capitalist oppression

Women:

triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting

triangleNottingham 'Reclaim the Night' march highlights cuts

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Women and Revolution

Violence against women:

triangleRefreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

triangleWomen and austerity - scrap the 'rape clause'

Domestic violence:

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

triangleCampaigners fight second Yorkshire Women's Aid closure in two years

International

International

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

31/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic

25/10/17

Kurdistan

Kurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2